5 Ways to De-stress
Cut the cord!
Is your smartphone keeping you up at night? Do you feel the need to scroll through countless posts on social media? Are you always on your computer, phone, or tablet? Well, you’re not alone. All of us are bombarded by technology in our everyday personal and professional lives. While it has made many things in our world easier to achieve, it has also increased our stress levels. Studies show that younger generations are susceptible to even greater stress due to increased gun violence, sexual harassment, migrant family separation, and suicide rates.
While I am tech-savvy and appreciate the opportunity technology offers for greater mobility and efficiency of tasks, it often seduces us to do more than we should. The digital assault to be on our laptops, cellphones, and smart devices has led to a constant state of overwhelm and burnout.
So, unplug as often as you can to regain perspective and reclaim inner peace. Don’t think you afford to disengage? The truth is, you can’t afford not to. According to the American Institute of Stress, stress can cause your hormones to fluctuate, leading to an increased heart rate and higher blood pressure. Stress negatively impacts your immune system by damaging your body’s defenses against infections. It also impairs sleep, harms the microbiome that aids in digestive health, increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, and can cause premature graying.
Still think you don’t have time to unplug? Reserve a two-hour block each day for when you will avoid the news. Dedicate the weekend to being free from checking emails. Carve out time where the TV stays off. No excuses! Schedule technology-free sessions in your planner, your smartphone, or write it on your wall calendar as a reminder. You will be amazed by how quickly it helps you to reset and refresh for the coming week.
Meditate and practice mindfulness.
Meditation unifies the body with the mind. Mental stress can be just as harmful as physical stress. Clinical research has proven that meditation is a great way to wipe away the day’s stress, renew a sense of calm, and even minimize pain. Practicing mindfulness—checking in with yourself to monitor your thoughts and feelings without judging them—builds inner strength while giving you the space to respond calmly under pressure.
You can start with simple breathing exercises. Or, you can invest in a mindfulness app.
Positive thoughts create positive emotions. Positive emotions lead to gratitude. When we are grateful, we are less stressed and enjoy a higher level of satisfaction in life. This is because gratitude has been scientifically shown to help us to adopt healthier habits, increases our psychological well-being, and encourages other virtues such as patience and humility.
Need help staying positive? Smile more often. Volunteer. Say, “thank you.” Find new ways to laugh. Start a gratitude journal. Remove negative self-talk from your vocabulary. Then, repeat!
Remember, stress is inevitable, but how we respond to it makes all the difference!